Agenda, decisions and draft minutes

Venue: Remote meeting

Contact: Richard Woods, Democratic Services  Email: DemocraticServices@southnorthants.gov.uk 01327 322043

Link: Please click here to view this meeting online

Items
No. Item

14.

Declarations of Interest

Members are asked to declare any interest and the nature of that interest which they may have in any of the items under consideration at this meeting.

 

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

 

15.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 65 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 16 September 2020 and 17 September 2020.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meetings of the Committee held on 16 September 2020 and 17 September 2020 were agreed as a correct record to be signed by the Chairman in due course.

16.

Chairman's Announcements

To receive communications from the Chairman.

 

Minutes:

The Chairman informed Members that Martin Henry, the Council’s Section 151 Officer, had now taken up his post as the substantive Section 151 Officer for the West Northamptonshire Unitary Authority and as such, would only be returning to South Northamptonshire Council to deal with any statutory matters arising.

17.

Urgent Business

The Chairman to advise whether they have agreed to any items of urgent business being admitted to the agenda.

Minutes:

There were no items of urgent business.

18.

Verbal Update on the Statement of Accounts and Annual Governance Statement 2019-20

Decision:

Resolved

 

(1)  That the verbal update on the Statement of Accounts and Annual Governance Statement 2019-20 be noted.

Minutes:

The Committee received a verbal update from the Temporary Assistant Director – Finance and Procurement and the External Auditor regarding the sign-off of the Statement of Accounts and Annual Governance Statement 2019-20.

 

The External Auditor explained that the ongoing delay to the sign-off of the Council’s 2019-20 Statement of Accounts was due to outstanding work on the Northamptonshire Pension Fund Audit, and the Going Concern Review for all District and Borough Councils in the North and West Northamptonshire Unitary areas.

 

It was noted by the Chairman that as a result of the issues outlined by the External Auditor, the delays to the sign-off of the Council’s 2019-20 Statement of Accounts was beyond the control of South Northamptonshire Council.

 

Resolved

 

(1)  That the verbal update on the Statement of Accounts and Annual Governance Statement 2019-20 be noted.

19.

Internal Audit Update – November 2020 pdf icon PDF 69 KB

Report of the Temporary Assistant Director – Finance and Procurement and Deputy Section 151 Officer

 

Purpose of report

 

To receive the CW Audit Service Update report for November 2020 and customer satisfaction survey results 2019/20.

 

Recommendations

            

The meeting is recommended:

 

1.1       To note the contents of the November 2020 internal audit progress report and satisfaction survey results 2019/20 from CW Audit Services.

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved

 

(1)  That the contents of the CW Audit Service Update report for November 2020 and customer satisfaction survey results 2019/20 be noted.

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report from the Temporary Assistant Director – Finance and Procurement which presented the November 2020 Internal Audit Update and Customer Satisfaction Survey results for 2019/20.

 

In introducing the report, the Internal Auditor explained that the majority of recommendations had now been actioned, bringing the total now implemented to 92, whilst 7 recommendations remained outstanding.

 

In response to questions from the Committee regarding the monitoring of Section 106 Agreements, the Internall Auditor advised that the establishment of two Section 106 Working Groups, one which looked into health matters and the other which looked into transport matters, had helped to provide clarity to Members on how the Council’s Section 106 funding had been utilised. 

 

Resolved

 

(1)  That the contents of the CW Audit Service Update report for November 2020 and customer satisfaction survey results 2019/20 be noted.

20.

Performance, Finance and Risk Monitoring - September 2020 pdf icon PDF 680 KB

Report of the Assistant Director: Customers and the Temporary Assistant Director – Finance and Procurement and Deputy Section 151 Officer

 

Purpose of report

 

This report summarises the Council’s Performance, Risk and Finance monitoring position as at the end of September 2020.

Recommendations

            

The meeting is recommended:

 

1.1       To note the quarterly Performance, Risk and Finance Monitoring Report.

 

1.2       To review the Leadership Risk Register and identify any issues for   further consideration.

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved

 

(1)  That the Quarterly Performance, Risk and Finance Monitoring Report be noted.

 

(2)  That, having given due consideration, the Leadership Risk Register be noted.

 

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report from the Assistant Director – Customers and Corporate Services and the Strategic Business Partner (Deputy Section 151 Officer) which summarised the Council’s Performance, Risk and Finance Monitoring Position as at the end of September 2020.

 

In introducing the report, the Assistant Director – Customer and Corporate Services explained that as at the end of September 2020, a surplus of £9k was currently forecast, however this included costs for Covid-19 total directorates of £2,171k, executive matters £3,912k, grant funding (£1,663k), Business Rates (£3,847k) and draft surplus 2019/2020 (£530k). After excluding the COVID-19 costs this would have resulted in an outturn position of a surplus of (£52k) against the 2020/2021 Budget.

 

In response to questions from Members regarding ongoing monitoring of the impact of COVID-19 on the Council’s finances, the Assistant Director – Customers and Corporate Services advised that the Finance team have worked with the various directorate managers in order to assess the additional costs to the Council created by the pandemic.

 

Resolved

 

(1)  That the Quarterly Performance, Risk and Finance Monitoring Report be noted.

 

(2)  That, having given due consideration, the Leadership Risk Register be noted.

 

21.

Treasury Management Report – Semi-annual Report for 2020-21 pdf icon PDF 102 KB

Report of the Temporary Assistant Director – Finance & Procurement and Deputy Section 151 Officer

 

Purpose of report

 

To receive information on treasury management performance and compliance with the treasury management policy for the first half of 2020-21 as required by the Treasury Management Code of Practice.

 

Recommendations

            

The meeting is recommended:

 

1.1       To note the contents of the 2020-21 semi-annual report for Treasury Management.

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved

 

(1)  That the contents of the 2020-21 semi-annual report for Treasury Management be noted.

Minutes:

The Temporary Assistant Director – Finance and Procurement submitted a report which provided an update on Treasury Management Performance and Compliance with the Treasury Management Policy for the first half of 2020/21 as required by the Treasury Management Code of Practice.

 

In presenting the report, the Temporary Assistant Director – Finance and Procurement explained that during the first half of 2020-21, the Council’s investment balance ranged between £19.9m and £54.0m due to timing differences between income and expenditure, and that as at the end of September 2020, the Council had £27.7m of funds invested.

 

In response to questions from the Committee as to whether South Northamptonshire Council had any funds invested with the London Borough of Croydon, which had recently issued a Section 114 Notice, the Temporary Assistant Director – Finance and Procurement confirmed that no investments were currently held with the London Borough of Croydon.

 

Resolved

 

(1)  That the contents of the 2020-21 semi-annual report for Treasury Management be noted.

22.

Independent Review into Local Authority Audit pdf icon PDF 79 KB

Report of the Temporary Assistant Director – Finance and Procurement and Deputy Section 151 Officer

 

*** Please note, that the report and appendices will be to follow ***

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved

 

(1)  That the contents of the independent review into the oversight of local authority audit and the transparency of local authority financial reporting be noted.

 

(2)  That, having given due consideration, it be agreed that Members shall provide feedback to Officers on the Public Sector Audit Appointments – Proposed new system for fee variations by Wednesday 25 November 2020.

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report from the Temporary Assistant Director – Finance and Procurement which provided Members with information on the independent review onto the oversight of local authority audit and the new system for fee variations.

 

In introducing the report, the Temporary Assistant Director – Finance and Procurement explained that the Independent Review provided a comprehensive review into the oversight of local authority audit and the transparency of local authority financial reporting. The Review recommendations and options proposed reform to provide for an effective local audit that could demonstrate accountability for audit performance to the public.

 

In order for the Council to provide a timely response to the consultation on the Public Sector Audit Appointments, Members of the Committee agreed to provide their comments and feedback to the Temporary Assistant Director – Finance and Procurement by 25 November 2020.

 

Resolved

 

(1)  That the contents of the independent review into the oversight of local authority audit and the transparency of local authority financial reporting be noted.

 

(2)  That, having given due consideration, it be agreed that Members shall provide feedback to Officers on the Public Sector Audit Appointments – Proposed new system for fee variations by Wednesday 25 November 2020.

23.

Review of Committee Work Programme pdf icon PDF 43 KB

To review and note the Committee Work Programme.

Minutes:

The Committee considered its Work Plan.

 

Resolved

 

(1)  That, subject to the addition of an item relating to the sign-off of the Statement of Accounts to the 21 January 2021 meeting, the Committee Work Plan be noted.

24.

Exclusion of Press and Public

The following report(s) contain exempt information as defined in the following paragraph(s) of Part 1, Schedule 12A of Local Government Act 1972.

 

3– Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).

 

7 – Information relating to any action taken or to be taken in connection with the prevention, investigation or prosecution of crime.

 

Members are reminded that whilst the following item(s) have been marked as exempt, it is for the meeting to decide whether or not to consider each of them in private or in public. In making the decision, members should balance the interests of individuals or the Council itself in having access to the information. In considering their discretion members should also be mindful of the advice of Council Officers.

 

Should Members decide not to make a decision in public, they are recommended to resolve as follows:

 

“That under Section 100A of the Local Government Act 1972, the public and press be excluded from the meeting for the following item(s) of business on the grounds that, if the public and press were present, it would be likely that exempt information falling under the provisions of Schedule 12A, Part I, Paragraphs 3 and 7 would be disclosed to them, and that in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.”

 

 

Minutes:

Resolved

 

That under Section 100A of the Local Government Act 1972, the public and press be excluded from the meeting for the following item(s) of business on the grounds that, if the public and press were present, it would be likely that exempt information falling under the provisions of Schedule 12A, Part I, Paragraphs 3 and 7 would be disclosed to them, and that in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

 

25.

Exempt Appendix to Treasury Management Report

To consider the exempt appendix to the Treasury Management Report – Semi-annual Report for 2020-21.

Decision:

Resolved

 

(1)  That the exempt appendix be noted.

Minutes:

The Committee considered the exempt appendix to the report of the Temporary Assistant Director – Finance and Procurement which detailed the Council’s Schedule of Investments.  

 

Resolved

 

(1)  That the exempt appendix be noted.

26.

Progress of Counter Fraud Service

Exempt report of the Senior Investigating Officer – Corporate Fraud Team

Decision:

Resolved

 

(1)  That the exempt report be noted.

Minutes:

The Senior Investigating Officer – Corporate Fraud Team submitted an exempt report which provided Members with an overview of the progress to date of the Council’s counter-fraud response following the delegation of authority in July 2018 to Oxford City Council.

 

Members of the Committee asked detailed questions of the report, which were duly answered by Officers.

 

Resolved

 

(1)  That the exempt report be noted.